COVID-19 route map for dental treatmentMon, 13th Jul 2020
You may be aware that the Scottish Government has outlined a three-phase return for NHS dental services following the COVID-19 lockdown. Urgent care was permitted first as part of this, and check-ups were allowed from Monday 13th July. As the Gentle Touch is a private plan practice, we anticipate a return for some other treatments much sooner than the NHS practices which are bound by the Scottish Government’s plan (“Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis”). We have our own route map for how we achieve this. We are working to ensure you can access the care you need as soon as we are able to provide it safely. The Route Map is being updated as needed (most recent update: 19th August 2020).
As the chief dental officer for Scotland said regarding NHS dental care, “we need to be mindful of the oral health needs of patients balanced against the wider situation with Covid-19.” The Gentle Touch will also continue to follow all dental guidelines and exercise extreme (evidence-based) care, albeit our return to services may move at a slightly different pace to NHS dental providers.
Gentle Touch Route Map: Staged Approach
Our own route map started with lockdown, then moved from Stage 1 which allowed urgent dental care only to Stage 2 which includes some non-urgent treatments, including check-ups. We are now starting to offer additional treatments under Stage 3.
Our Route Map works through 5 stages in total, which will gradually allow a return to normal service. Of course, the situation continues to evolve, and we will update 4 and 5 as soon as we can.
One point to note is that children, who are all under NHS dental care at the Gentle Touch, cannot be treated for some time yet. However, if your child has an urgent issue, please call us as we are working on some solutions to this delay.
We have implemented new procedures for when you attend your appointments, including changes to arrival and departure routines. These procedures will ensure a safe environment for you and give you peace of mind about attending your appointment.
Stage 1: prioritise urgent cases
For those patients with urgent dental care needs through lockdown, we were able to start to offer care in Stage 1.
We provided the following care to non-Covid symptomatic patients – all strictly by appointment only:
- Urgent, then essential care to all private plan patients who had tooth or gum problems during the lockdown period (not including procedures that produce a water spray).
- Daily emergency appointments (not including procedures that produce a water spray).
- Patient purchases from the practice (if not self-isolating) of the following items: special toothpaste, mouthwashes, cleaning aids, etc.
- Home deliveries of these items (including antibiotics and temporary filling packs) will continue if patients are shielding (following remote consultation, of course).
- Referral of patients to our local urgent care centre in Coldstream (for severe toothache in a tooth that needs ‘water-spray’ treatment, for example, root canal treatment).
- Referral of all ‘NHS’ children (with toothache) to local urgent care centre.
- Remote new patient consults with our Patient Care Coordinator. Caroline can either get you signed up straight away to allow access to our emergency care or if in no hurry, you’re welcome to join our ‘wait-list.’
Stage 2: non-urgent care
We were delighted to open our services for non-urgent care from the 13th of July to non-COVID symptomatic patients. The service is strictly by appointment only. Care includes:
- All the care we could offer during stage 1 of our Routemap.
The protection of patients and staff remains of paramount importance as we move forward. We appreciate your patience as we use our clinical judgment about how and when we begin to increase the range of procedures we provide. This is of vital importance so that we do not have an adverse impact on the National effort to keep COVID-19 under control. We will, therefore, keep you updated we move through the next stages!
Stage 3: treatments that involve a water-spray
Stage 4: children’s dentistry (in line with phase 4 of the Scottish Routemap)
Stage 5: full range of treatments including cosmetic dentistry
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